Published Monday, 09 July 2012
Eleven titles on the trot says it all really. Too good for Ulster, too weak to challenge for Leinster, I am not sure if Galway's shock defeat of Kilkenny will act as inspiration or completely deflate the saffron mentality.
Antrim and Galway started playing in Leinster just three years ago when it was argued that due to the poor standard of hurling in both Connaught and Ulster, this was the only feasible way that hurling in both counties could realise it's true potential.
Great for Galway, but three years on it has become clear that Antrim hurling hasn't progressed, and one would have to say that thus far, the move to play in the Leinster Championship hasn't been a very productive one. With the current All-Ireland Club champions in our ranks and a strong standard of hurling in the county, where has it all gone wrong this year?
It appears the whole Antrim hurling set-up this year was a joke with more managerial ins and outs than a 'hokey cokey'. Gregory O'Kane was the first to walk. How can hurling team create a bond of true unity when the management team can't even get along?
Jerry Wallace shouldn't have had Sambo McNaughton as part of his backroom team. Former leaders don't make good wing men particularly when they realise the new number one isn't up to the job.
When Wallace resigned, interim manager Jim Nelson made a big mistake bringing him back as a selector. The County Board need to take their share of the blame also.
Dinny Cahill had Antrim moving along the right path but in their wisdom the Antrim executive decided to get rid of the Tipperary man and replace him with a great coach, but one totally unproven at any managerial level.
If I recall correctly, the Antrim executive played a similar card a few years back when they appointed another 'rookie', Jody Gormely, as the football manager, instead of nurturing the opportunity to continue with Mickey Culbert and a fresh back-room team.
Continuity is an essential ingredient for success. Brian Cody or Mickey Harte anyone?
And then there's the players who need to take their share of the blame. The rumour mill pointed to splits in the camp between players from two North Antrim clubs.
A pride in playing for the jersey and a dedication to prepare like the best players in Kilkenny and Tipp is a must.
Shamrocks was the word on every Antrim person's lips on March 17 2012.
At the end of the Inter-County season, unfortunately it was shambles.